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Monday, 5 September 2016

6 Smart Ways to Prepare For Natural Disasters

In times past, natural disasters were few and far between. Not anymore. These days, natural disasters do not only occur more frequently, they are more devastating in their scope of destruction. There is virtually no country in the world that is immune. We no longer doubt if disasters will occur. We now expect them to and wonder where next? These disasters can manifest in form of earthquakes, tornadoes, wild fires, floods and tsunamis. What they all have in common if and whenever they occur is widespread destruction to lives and properties.

In 2012 alone, many Americans were hit by the Colorado wild fires, tropical storm Debby and a record heat wave. Mother Nature's fury has been visited on many other countries quite a bit all these years. There is hardly any week now that one natural disaster or the other will not occur somewhere in the world. Because we can not stop natural disasters, we can at best prepare very well for them. If scientists are to be believed, we should all brace up for more disasters in the years ahead. Even though an earthquake, fire or a flood may not have destroyed your home yet, you can not be sure whether the very next one will not hit your area. Because of that, it is very important to plan for how you can protect yourself, your family and your properties. Here are some of the smartest ways you can prepare for an event you hope will never happen.

01. Subscribe to electronic channels for weather reports/news/forecasts.
Instead of watching or listening to sports and music most of the time, it is good to subscribe to other channels that forecast weather and climate changes. In the news section, you will always hear or watch what happens elsewhere when natural disasters occur and how the people cope with them. That way, you can equip yourself with relevant information about what to do when such disasters occur in your own area. Some disasters like storms and tornadoes can be predicted through weather forecasts. These forecasts usually give people sufficient time to prepare to batten down or to evacuate. Some of the news bulletins are at times inclusive of tips about what to do and how to cope with an in-coming disaster.

02. Take stock of what you own.
Some disasters like wild fires and floods are capable if destroying very many documents beyond recovery. For that reason, it is prudent to take a detailed documented stock of all your valuable items for safe keeping in fire-proof cabinets or even bank vaults where such banking services can be obtained. If your property is damaged or lost, the more proof of ownership you have, the better at least for insurance claims. Try to stack the receipts for high-value items and other valuables in your home for safe keeping. Pictures, video recordings of your home and other valuable properties can also be made in advance and kept in safe places. These precautions come in handy at the stage of insurance claims when disasters do occur.

03. Take out comprehensive insurance cover.
Take out in advance a comprehensive insurance cover on all your valuable properties including your home and cars. Ensure that all known and envisaged natural disasters are covered by insurance. Find out in advance what your homeowners or renters insurance cover? What does your disability insurance cover and for how long. You must find out if your auto insurance includes a rental car should your car be damaged? When you are equipped with all these facts, your claims are easier to process even in times of trauma which many natural disasters usually engender. Discuss and settle all these issues with your family members, your employers and insurance agents well in advance.

04. Digitize all your vital documents.
Title deeds, agreements, photographs and other vital documents should be scanned and stored electronically online. No matter the scope of the disaster, copies of such stored documents can always be downloaded for further use.

05. Ensure you have valid credit/debit cards.
Sometimes the most obvious actions are the ones we neglect to take. Since cards are handy and may actually be on you when disasters occur, you will not easily run out of spending money. Even if your place of employment is wiped out and you have no guaranteed source of income for some time after such disasters, your credit/debit cards come in handy. In case of injuries requiring hospitalization and other emergencies, you will need money which your cards can help you to obtain.

06. Maintain good relationship with neighbors.
This is one of the most important but overlooked precautions against natural disasters. At times, disasters do occur when people are not at home to protect their own properties. If you have neighbors who do not like the sight of you, not many will lift a finger to help when your home is being devastated. Sometimes, the real heroes in the fight against natural disasters are obscure neighbors. This is why it is very important to maintain good relationship with all your neighbors. 

That said, it is imperative to mention that everyone should always remain vigilant and prepared because you can never tell when and where the next big one will strike.

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